Colchester United boss John McGreal is looking to his three young guns

Sammie Szmodics drives into the box during the U's 1-1 draw against Stevenage. John McGreal is looki

Sammie Szmodics drives into the box during the U's 1-1 draw against Stevenage. John McGreal is looking to Szmodics to score plenty of goals this season. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, is looking for his trio of young guns to combine to build-up a large goal-tally this season.

Centre-forward Mikael Mandron celebrated his first goal in a Colchester shirt, since his summer switch from Wigan Athletic, with a second-half equaliser during last Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Stevenage.

But McGreal does not want to put too much pressure on his young target man to score all the goals, and so challenge the 16 goals netted by his experienced predecessor Chris Porter (now Crewe) from last season.

Instead, the U’s supremo wants fellow younsgters Drey Wright and Sammie Szmodics to also contribute heavily over the course of the season.

Wright and Mandron have formed a two-pronged attack during the first week or so of the season, with Szmodics just behind this pair, although the latter has also joined the front-line in a three-strong combination at times.


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“Mikael (Mandron) is a very focused boy,” explained McGreal.

“Even the other night, when he missed a penalty (against Aston Villa) early on, he kept going. He doesn’t let things get him down.

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“He missed a very early chance against Stevenage – perhaps it came too early for him – and he was very fatigued when he finally took his chance late on.

“Mikael is going to miss opportunities, but when he does get chances, he will score goals.

“I have high hopes for Mikael, otherwise I wouldn’t have brought him in. But it’s not just the centre forward who need to score goals, it’s not just Mikael we are looking towards.

“Drey (Wright) needs the numbers by his name. He got an assist against Stevenage, but he missed two or three chances as well. And Sammie Szmodics needs to get goals. He’s had good opportunities, like in the previous two matches.

“We don’t want to put too much pressure on one player to score.

“Mikael is only 22, Sammie only 21 and Drey 22, so we are a young team.

“Mikael has come with a price tag on his head following his move to Wigan, which didn’t work out and we have got him for nothing.

“He can be a handful, and if we can get Drey and Sammie in-and-around him, then those three can be a potent force,” added McGreal.

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